Children Experiencing God

Children Experiencing God

In June, I had an experience that filled me with joy and thanksgiving. I was serving as the evangelist at a summer camp in Tennessee. The first night of camp, I walked into the chapel where 109 eight-, nine- and ten-year-old kids were worshiping. They weren’t just singing songs and moving to the rhythm; they were worshiping with hands raised high and voices emphatically strong. And that was just the first night. Each night these campers worshiped vibrantly; they actively listened to God’s Word; they humbly received prayer ministry; and they passionately prayed for others. God honored their worship.

During these times of worship children came to the altar with tears of conviction streaming down their face; they believed and were saved. They raised their hands and in faith received Holy Spirit baptism. They boldly prayed for others around them until they too were laughing with Holy Spirit joy and speaking in heavenly languages. They reverently took communion. Filled with agape love, they moved through the chapel experiencing true Christian fellowship with one another. And again, as they worshiped God and loved one another, God’s presence filled the chapel.

Worship is a must for kids. Through worship children’s minds focus on God, their emotions sense His presence, and their wills yield to His. Through worship children experience the reality of God—His nearness, His love, His comfort, His guidance and more. They realize that God is not just someone you read about in the Bible.  He is real.  He is near.  He responds to their prayers and their praises.

Through worship children “rise up” to do the good works of ministry—acts of compassion, intercession, testimony, and sacrificial giving.  During ministry time one evening as the presence of God became real to each child, a young girl was baptized in the Holy Spirit. In continued worship, she moved to her friend who was handicapped. She hugged her friend and prayed for healing. Her worship had inspired faith-filled ministry.

Through worship children say “yes” to God for a lifetime. During this kids’ camp one of the senior staff members reminded me of a children’s revival that he participated in when he was only twelve years old. During worship at that children’s revival, the lights went out. The minister reminded the children that the early Christians often worshiped in the darkness of the caves. This reminder inspired the children to continue worshiping. Soon every child responded in praise to God and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. This staff member not only received Holy Spirit baptism but was also called into ministry. He accepted that call and has served as a pastor throughout his adult life.

During Jesus’ last week here on earth he was in the Temple doing miraculous things. The children saw the wonderful things he was doing—healing and forgiving—and they began to shout praises. The wicked religious leaders questioned Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”  Matthew 21:16

Do you hear what the children are saying? Yes. Even today God continues to order His praise from the lips and hearts of our children so that His kingdom can be established in their lives and in their world.

Kathy

Contributing Author: Kathy Creasy

Kathy is the International Children’s Ministry Director for the Church of God of Prophecy.  It is through her leadership that this Developing Leaders, Impacting Kids website operates.  She has a  Masters of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and a certificate in Children’s Ministry from Lancaster Bible University. Kathy is committed to providing encouragement and training to those who serve children. Kathy is married to Rick Creasy.  They have two sons and three wonderful grandchildren.

 

 

 

Kids and Raising Money for Missions

Kids and Raising Money for Missions

Part of ministry to children is teaching them to serve Christ by serving others. Involving kids in a missions project is a wonderful opportunity to help meet this goal. These projects typically involve raising money, and children are often a bit unsure of how to handle this challenge.  Beyond asking their parents for money or dipping into their small savings, how can they raise money? Below are some ideas for how you can help children earn money for missions.  Hopefully these ideas will help you as you prepare to involve your children in the Helping Hands for Kids 2017 project- “Do Your Part: Helping Venezuela’s Pastors’ Kids.”

  • Generate excitement about the missions project! Use the materials provided at children.cogop.org to help children truly understand the need and how they can make a difference.  There are ideas for teaching children about the culture of Venezuela, the needs of the people, prayer ideas, and much more.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to teach your children to have the hearts of servants.
  • Guide the children in preparing a presentation for their parents and grandparents, similar to a project they might do for school. Provide the children with poster board, art supplies, and pictures related to the project for which they they want to raise money.  Once they have prepared a visual board, help them practice using their board to share with adults about the project.  When children invest their time and effort into explaining the missions need, adults are more likely to give.
  • Ask an adult who is gifted in the area of media production to help children create a video to share in church and on social media. For example, the children at my church were raising money for Christians in Nepal to purchase chickens and goats.  Each child shared just one or two sentences about the need.  We filmed in different outdoor settings, and we even found someone with pet goats who let us film part of the video at their house.  Once it was edited, this was a wonderful tool for sharing about the mission project.
  • Be creative in helping children discover ways to raise money. One of the children at my church lives near a bookstore that purchases used books.  This child gathered up books she had finished reading, sold them, and gave the money to missions.  Another child held a traditional bake sale after church to raise money.  If yard sales or garage sales are popular in your area, this would also be a great project for the children to do together.

I love watching the excitement of children when they realize that they are truly making a difference in the world.  Beyond just making a difference, however, it is my prayer that they will know and understand the words of Jesus….”Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

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Click for more information about the 2017 Helping Hands for Kids Project.

 

 

Entrusting Our Treasured Possessions

Entrusting Our Treasured Possessions

There is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for parenting. From the time that first cry pierces the air of the delivery room, your life is split in half, and you suddenly feel the unimaginable joy but also intense responsibility as a caregiver. For me, it was as if my heart was taken out of its chest, swaddled up and placed in a window display for everyone to examine. Never had I felt so elated and yet also so vulnerable. Continue reading

Family and Church Working Together

Family and Church Working Together

I have often heard the African proverb “It takes a whole village to raise a child” being quoted by school teachers, pediatricians, and even pastors to reiterate to parents how important it is for them to never forget that they are not alone on their journey through child-rearing. Parents need other parents. As a matter of fact, people need other people! Our wise Creator designed us to be relational beings whose hearts are most satisfied when they are able to give and receive LOVE. This truth applies to both young and old alike. Continue reading

The “Wow” Factor

The “Wow” Factor

One Sunday during children’s church, I called my husband up to the front of the class. As he was coming, a child yelled out, “He’s about to do something awesome, isn’t he?” With that statement, I knew they identified him with the object lessons and science experiments that we use during children’s ministry. It also let me know that I had to start doing some of them myself to maintain my “cool” status! Continue reading

Summer, Volunteers, and My Story

Summer, Volunteers, and My Story

I must admit that I am a summer kind of girl. Hot weather, sandy beaches, lakes, bike rides, and popsicles all bring a smile to my face.  As a mom, I try to intentionally slow down our family pace in the summer and just enjoy life.  However, as a children’s pastor, for several years, I found myself dreading the approaching season. Summer was anything but peaceful as I filled in for absent volunteers almost every service.  It became obvious to me that I needed to develop a summer plan. Continue reading

Who? Me?

Who? Me?

Have you ever noticed that some individuals serve children out of duty without a sense of fulfillment and joy? Some serve children for a season—perhaps while their children are young—and then move on to serve in another ministry. Some serve children while the ministry is growing and well supported but give up when there are obstacles to confront.

But there are others who serve children with a “This (children’s ministry) fills my cup!” delight. Their ministry spans a lifetime, not just a season. They serve faithfully with vision, wisdom, and courage regardless of the challenges they face. The fruit of ministry is evident in the lives and testimonies of those they serve. Continue reading